30/06/06 I couldn't wait any longer. I have been toying with the idea for ages of buying a new Panda 4x4 but the price of them was just to high. However I sold the landrover last week and decided that if I could get my local dealer to do me a good deal I would go for one. Well my local dealer Des from Mervyn Stewarts has came up trumps and I signed on the dotted line today for a red 4x4 with Skydome sunroof and a sliding/folding rear seat. I won't get it though for another 8 weeks!
11/09/06. Well 10 weeks later and "WOOHOO" it's arrived off the boat this morning. As soon as Des (the dealer) phoned me I went straight round. It hasn't had anything done to it yet so was sitting with a good layer of dust. It has to be pdi'd so I won't be lifting it until Wednesday. However we took it up the road for a drive and I had the silliest big grin on my face, it is a hoot to drive. I was told it would be slow but on that short run it was plenty quick enough for me. Anyway here's the first pics of it still in the dealers.
Vincent the after sales Manager and Des the sales Manager give it the once over. Now that's good service. Ready now for PDi.
1 mile on the clock. WooHoo !!!
Collection day and Des had "Cheeky" sitting at the front door of Mervyn Stewarts all nice and cleaned and ready.
Right I have "Cheeky" home, Thats what I have decided to call him so here are the photos. I have to say I am very impressed so far.
My mascot Hommer with his Ferrari race suit on. Like Luigi, "he only follows the Ferraris" . The Climbing badge was very generousely donated to me by Pandissimo from the Fiat Forum. It finishes things off nicely.
Well that's 250 miles racked up so here's my first impressions. It is nowere near as slow as I had been led to believe and can keep up with traffic in all conditions. It rolls very little on corners even when pushed a little. The ride is a bit on the hard side (probably why it doesn't roll) but I like it that way. On a poorly layed road it can get a little bouncy to. Inside it is very airy thanks to the Skydome roof and the light interior. The steering has a heavier feel to it than the 2wd Panda. There is adjustment on the drivers seat for raising the base of the seat so it's very easy to get comfortable, unless your 6'3" and over. I ordered the car with a sliding rear seat and I reckon it will come in very useful. Since getting it home I have been stopped 5 times by people asking about it, the general comment being "it looks like nothing else I've seen on the road". It is true to the Panda tradition in every sense of the word. I love it.
16/11/06. Well just gave the car it's first oil and filter change (2,926 miles) I won't be reporting every service but as this was the first (I'm going to do an oil change every 3,000 miles) I thought I would post it. The Biggest part of it was getting the steel belly pan off. "It weighs a tonne". I thought it would be made of plastic but it has definately been made to protect the engine/gearbox over some very rough terrain. It is held on by 6 13mm bolts, 2 at the rea and 4 at the front. The front ones are covered by plastic covers held on by 2 self tappers each. I would suggest owners of a 4x4 is take the bolts out and put plenty of copper ease on them along with the 4 self tappers, as it could prove hard to get off once water etc gets in on the act. The oil filter needs to be taken off by a strap or chain but not with one that goes on the end as there's no room between it and the exhaust shield. Oil change itself took only 10 mins. It took longer to get the pan off.
My car has never been so dirty. I went to visit Vincent today and the roads were filthy. Good photo though.
My mate Neil was over from England so we gathered a couple of friends and went on a little run out. We headed up the Antrim coast to a place called Torr Head. The roads up to it are very narrow and very very hilly. The little car is just made for this sort of thing and what fun it was. I took a few photos.
04/09/07. I've had the car a year next week and as you can see there's been nothing to report about the car. Nothing has broken, nothing has fell off and it has been absolute fun to drive. I've had a lot of people ask me about it and they all use the same words "it's so cute". It turned 7,000 miles this week and it's been like someone turning a switch. It feels a lot livelier on take up and faster. Not only that, the fuel consumpition has improved quiet a bit, it's now averaging around 43mpg. It still looks like new to.
05/12/07. Turned 10,000 miles today. On the M1 while going home from work.
27/12/07. In just over 10,000 miles the car has performed faultlessly, right up until I sort of broke it today. All my own fault and no fault of the car. I say sort of because I was fitting my new radio to the car and while poking around with the circuit tester looking for a live feed I managed to to upset the digital readout on the dash.
The radio wasn't keeping memory of radio stations when the car is switched off so as I say I went in search of a live feed for it. I found a lovely thick red wire behind the kick panel in the footwell on the drivers side (below the fuses) so being the "non" electrical expert I am, I stuck the tester into it then connected the other end to the radio to see if it would work. The result was the fuse for the radio has blown (have you seen how small those fuses are) and now the digital readout flashes on and off. The mileometer works ok but the clock and trip computer keep reseting everytime I switch the car off. But not only that, the fuel and water temp guages stick in whatever position they were in when the car switched off. A quick flick on/off of the key and they drop to were they should be.
So I've still no radio and I've broke my dash, a bit.
I'm going to have a smile while I explain this to the Fiat dealers in the hope they can put my electricity engineering abilities right.
27/12. Same day ^. On the way home from work I called into the Main Fiat dealers (Mervyn Stewarts) to see if they could undo what I did. They very kindly "and without making any smart comments" replaced the radio fuse and within 5 mins had the digital bit of the dash sorted. It just needed reset. So that's it all sorted until I try to wire the radio in again Although this time I think I'll just run a wire direct from the battery.
04/01/08. It's snowing, very heavily and I'm at work. I get to put the Pandas 4wd to the test now. First pic is the car sitting in works carpark, I took it on my phone and it a pic through the cctv so quality isn't the best.
In my excitment to play in the snow I forgot to take a photo of the car once I got down to it, but it drove home through some very deep snow without any drama at all. It just plugged on. The snow in the drive.
Parked up after getting me home safe and sound beside the Alfa. It's an amazing little car.
03/02. While washing the car this morning I discovered some so&so has pulled the No4 off the side of the car were it says "permanent 4 wheel drive". Really annoyed at this and will see about getting a new one during the week from Fiat.
7/02. I spent 8 hours today polishing the car. Went over it first with G3 Farecla, then again with trade polish using the buff, then a coat of Maguires polish, coat of 1 Grand wax and finally a coat of Maguires wax sealer. Unfortunately I didn't get to take a decent photo of the finished look as it was dark by the time I had finished. However next morning there was a very heavy frost and it was -4. The car was obviously so well polished the frost had serious trouble sticking to it. Some lovely designs though.
17/06. Very sadly I sold the car today. Knowing that the money is going into extending the garage doesn't help though. He went to a very nice couple from Cumbria who have promised to look after him and to send me updates from time to time. I am going to miss this little car greatly as it has been outstanding in every area and gave me no bother at all. I've ben asking myself all day if I've done the right thing, and I'm not convinced I have
24/02/09. Andrew and Fran who bought "Jez" as they have named him, sent me a couple of photos of how he's getting on. Being put to good use and seems to be enjoying himself.. Thanks guys for keeping me updated.